Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on the NHL Network today that he believes that the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward William Nylander are at a standstill in their contract negotiations. He goes on to say that he doesn’t think a contract will get done anytime soon unless one of the sides budges dramatically from their position. Friedman’s belief is that Nylander doesn’t want to take a discount to remain with the Maple Leafs if their other top-end players aren’t willing to take one too.
It’s hard to fault Nylander’s logic, he has been playing on a contract well under his market value for a half-decade while several of his teammates have been collecting annual salaries north of $10MM. Chris Johnston reported weeks ago on the Chris Johnston show that Nylander’s ask on his next contract is an annual salary of around $10MM, while the Maple Leafs are countering with an extension offering him between $8MM and $9MM per year. Given the way things are going, it appears that Auston Matthews next contract could be a big factor in whether the Leafs can lock up Nylander to a long-term extension.
Should the Maple Leafs opt to dangle Nylander in the trade market there would be a long lineup of suitors for the 27-year-old. Nylander is coming off back-to-back 80+ point seasons and has become much more responsible with the puck as his career has gone on. He is no longer regarded as a turnover machine as he might have been in earlier parts of his career.
In other Maple Leafs notes:
- Speaking of Auston Matthews, Elliotte Friedman had a small update on the Maple Leafs star forward. Friedman told the NHL Network that he believes Matthews will sign an extension very soon that will be between three and five years. While it’s hardly a surprise to hear that Matthews is once again looking at signing a shorter-term deal in hopes of maximizing his earning potential, it is surprising to hear that Matthews would consider a five-year contract that would take him through most of his prime and into his early 30s. Even at 31 Matthews will likely be able to fetch a lucrative long-term deal, but he may not be able to command as much money as he could as a 29-year-old hitting free agency.
- Friedman also reported that he believes that the Maple Leafs don’t want to go beyond a three-year extension with restricted free-agent goaltender Ilya Samsonov. The Maple Leafs and Samsonov are expected to go to arbitration on July 21, meaning that arbitration numbers will be exchanged tomorrow morning. The 26-year-old netminder was terrific in his first season with Toronto posting a .919 save percentage to go along with a 2.33 goals-against average and a 27-10-5 record. The Maple Leafs are currently over the salary cap meaning that they will need to shuffle around money to fit in Samsonov’s new deal when it is completed.